Welcome back to part two of the Football Offseason Workout Program series.  I’m just sharing some of the fundamental philosophies you might want to implement into your football offseason strength training regimen for maximum results.

Click here if you missed part one.

Let’s finish up.


Lesson #3  Don’t Overtrain!

Former Georgia tight end Orson Charles was a top performer in the bench press at the 2012 NFL Combine, benching 225lbs 35 times. (ICON Sports)

In Rest & Overtraining…, the author, Jeff Behar, an MS, MBA, personal trainer, and natural bodybuilder, defines “overtraining”:

Overtraining can best be defined as the state where your body has been repeatedly stressed by training (weight training and/or cardio) to the point where rest is no longer adequate to allow for recovery.

Overtraining puts your body in a state where it produces less glycogen.

Glycogen is another word for the carbohydrates that are stored  in your muscles.

Related: 13 Interesting Facts About Carbohydrates Every Athlete Should Know – Part One

As you know, carbohydrates provide your body with fuel.  When you workout, your body uses the fuel stored in your muscles (glycogen).

So in summary, overtraining eats away at your body’s energy supply.

Jeff goes on to mention that there’s two types of overtraining, “localized” and “systemic.”


Localized overtraining

This is the most common, and can occur when you:

A) Consistently work the same muscles two days in a row, and/or when you:
B) Train a muscle too often, to the point of where you’re not giving that muscle or muscle group the right amount of rest.


Localized overtraining occurs in the specific muscles or muscle groups that you’ve over-worked.


Systemic overtraining 

This one is more serious than localized, and is less common than localized.

Systemic affects your whole body.

It usually happens when you train supporting muscle groups on consecutive days.



For example, when you bench press, you’re using your shoulders, triceps, lats, and chest predominantly.

These are all “supporting” muscle groups.

So if you were to train triceps on Monday, then chest on Tuesday, you’re putting yourself at-risk of experiencing systemic overtraining eventually.

Make sense?


What Happens Internally

Internally, systemic overtraining causes the hypothalamus in your brain to lose it’s ability to deal with the stress from your training.

When you’ve experienced systemic overtraining, your body increases it’s cortisol production.

This hurts your muscle growth by slowing down the muscle repair process.

In a nutshell, your testosterone levels drop, which decrease your muscle size and strength, and can even cause you some sexual problems!

As we’ve talked about before, getting proper rest is absolutely crucial to your athletic performance, and strength training.

Related: How Does Sleep Affect Athletic Performance on the Field?


Phil Johnson, strength & conditioning coach, on how to recognize whether or not you’re overtraining:


Lesson #4 – Your Workouts Should Vary In Intensity and Volume

In the Strength Training for Football article, the author Phil, who’s a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, says that varying the intensity and volume of the lifting you’re doing helps prevent burnout, and keeps you from overtraining:

…over a 6 week period intensity might start off lower at week 1, reach a peak by week 3, taper off at week 4 and reach a peak again at week 6.

Related: The Truth about In Season Football Training


Lesson #5 – Why It’s Important to Warm up before Strength Training

I gotta admit.  For most of my adult life, I’ve ignored the importance of warming up.

I kinda feel like an idiot after what I’ve learned.

Truth is, warming up decreases your risk of injury and it can even help you lift more weight.

So in a nutshell, if you’re not warming up right, you’re not getting the most out of your workouts.

Which means you’re not getting the most out of yourself.  Ouch.

Related: Specific Stretches for Football that Can Give You an Advantage on the Field


Lesson #6 – The Importance of Cooling-Down

It’s kinda funny, but until I read The Importance of Warming Up…, I never realized the importance of “cooling down.”

Truth is, cooling down when you’re done training gets your body back to a resting state.

It relaxes your muscles, which decreases muscle soreness and fatigue by draining the lactic acid out of your muscles.

Related: Strength Training – How to Recover Faster From Workouts – Part 1


As an added bonus, cooling down also helps reduce the load on your immune system, too.

When you’re doing a cool-down, you’re basically doing a lot of what you were doing when you were warming up, but cool-down tends to include more static stretching, whereas with warming-up, you’re doing more dynamic stretching.

Related: Specific Stretches for Football that Can Give You an Advantage on the Field
For the record, this series wasn’t put together to get you off of what you’ve already been doing.

If what you’ve been doing has been working for you, have at it.

This more intended for guys that are lost, and are just doing anything in the gym, without a strategy.


Final Thoughts…

All I ask, is that when you’re following a strength training program, make sure you’re getting it from a credible source.

To get the most out of your off-season training, it’s best to get it customized to your own specific position and goals for the upcoming season.

..and just as important, is that you get your info from someone that knows what they’re talking about.

Otherwise, you’re not getting all you can out of the training, and ultimately, yourself.


Did you learn anything knew from the information shared in this post?  Do you disagree with anything mentioned?  Leave a comment below!

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier

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Reference web pages:

Curtis Schultz’ – Power Athlete Football Strength Program (via bodybuilding.com)

Strength Training for Football… The Elite Approach (via sports-fitness-advisor.com)

Rest and Overtraining – What Does This All Mean to the Dedicated Bodybuilder? (bodybuilding.com)

Periodization Part 2: Anatomical Adaptation (via veloforce.net)

Football Strength Training (via strengthtrainingforsports.com) 

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